By Colin Cooke
Realizing, designing and engaging in experiments is on the center of technology. this article introduces the basic rules on which physicists should still construct an intensive experimental method of their discipline.
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Additional info for An introduction to experimental physics
In more recent times the laser was at first described as a solution in search of a problem, but not for long. Naturally the universal facilities are time and money, but who has ever had enough of either? 4. Design the experiment This means doing all the preliminary work needed to ensure a high probability of success in the experiment: choice of equipment, conditions of measurement, estimating the likely accuracy, control of unwanted variables, and so on. The possibility of systematic errors should never be far from your thoughts at this stage.
These often take a long time to complete so that it is worth developing an attitude that seeks the quickest route to a particular end, rather than just drifting along in a haphazard manner. Steps along the way We will start with a list of the necessary steps, discuss each in general terms, and then apply the ideas to particular experiments: 30 DESIGN OF EXPERIMENTS 1. Choose a subject suitable for an experiment. 2. Discover what is known about it. 3. Have you the necessary facilities? 4. Design the experiment.
The circuits were designed to detect pulses at a maximum rate of 106 per second, but were unreliable at this frequency. By reducing the operating frequency to 8×105 per second, reliable performance could be achieved. This simply meant that measurements took a longer time to gain the required accuracy, and since there was a large element of automation in the experiment it merely increased the length of coffee breaks— sorry I mean time in the library! This was considered to be a better use of the equipment than going into great detail trying to find the cause of the problem.
An introduction to experimental physics by Colin Cooke